Tag Archives: Egrets

Blackbirds over Lake Chapala 2

A couple of hours of looking through old photos of the non-digital sort yielded two photos of the blackbirds whose sunset flights were described in this poem. In these photos, they have not yet gathered into the chains they form to fly to the cornfields between Chapala and Guadalajara. Here they are just lifting out of the acres of cattails that rimmed the lake back when it was shrinking in size. This is just one wave of birds. After it lifted, there would have been another and another—tens of thousands of birds—as I recall, some yellow-winged and some red-winged blackbirds. In the years since then, the lake has thankfully come up to its original banks, as at the time I moved here in 2001 there were places in which you had to take a taxi from the pier to get out to the lake. It was estimated that the lake would be totally gone within five years, but luckily people banded together to save it. I’m glad to have the lake restored and there are still thousands of white pelicans as well as numerous egrets and herons and other birds, but I do miss those glorious swells of blackbirds.

(If you want to see the birds, you need to click on photos to enlarge them.)


Egrets in Benito Juarez Park


Click on any photo to enlarge all.

Egrets in Benito Juarez Park

By threes and fours, they soar in and alight
on sparse branches of the bent, high-spreading trees.
Below them the steady beat of dribbling basket balls
whose rhythms they punctuate with high-pitched squawks.

A hundred or more now bark like gulls,
protesting each new arrival perched too near
and settle invisible against a sky that’s glazed so pale
by torn white clouds,
that it’s barely a different color
From clouds and egrets.

A feather floats down, soars sideways
to rest under the green bench.
and I retrieve it, like a message from a saint.

More birds soar in,
their legs like two black straws held parallel and horizontal.
On limb after limb, they stand exposed, flapping wings,
with neck first fragile,
then settled into a dowager’s hump.
Once motionless, they, too, become
invisible above the shouts of children,
rebound of a ball against a backboard,
hum of generator, blast of horn, peal of church bell.

Thirty more birds attempt the impossible—
to fill gaps in a tree where no gaps exist—
like a Christmas tree with not one single limb left to ornament.
Birds lift, sift to a different tree.
Now that the stronger limbs are taken,
they perch on swinging branches,
then move to safer perches,
displacing other birds
that drift in turn until more trees fill.
Wave after wave,
on tree after tallest tree,
they settle again to silence.

This happened before we came,
will continue after I leave.
These trees alive with birds that were,
scant hours ago,
solitary waders.

Returning to the posada where I last stayed with you,
I climb staircase after staircase
past the stone room that was ours.
This is the trip I dreaded–
thought I’d never make.
I remember everything:
all the places where we’d been—
the park, the hotel and the plaza,
each favorite cafe made holy from past associations.

Yet I hold only
one feather from the egret,
see only
crenellations of the room across the courtyard where we stayed.
Hear only
the saxophonist, improved since I was here with you,
filling in the intervals between
one dog barking from a rooftop down below
and far off dogs, his accompaniment.

The saxophone spins out lines
through darkness,
the staffs of music a communication
between then and now and what remains
after the birds have flown,
after the saxophone is laid to rest
mute in its coffin, wooden tongue dried stiff.

What remains after the barking dog,
after the stairway crumbles, and the stars have cycled into another sky.
What remains as my life soars away from you,
your stillness framing my flight,
as you stretch invisible,
yet as solid around me
as clouds.


San Miguel de Allende, 2001. Click on any photo to enlarge all.

To see a companion poem and photos, go HERE.

Boat Ride through the Mangroves

Yesterday my friends Lach, Becky and I took a late afternoon boat ride through the beautiful mangrove forest ecological preserve in La Manzanilla, Mexico to view dozens of bird species as well as the iguanas and crocodiles. ( Click on any photo to enlarge them all:)

This certainly qualified as entertainment!

Snowy Egret: A Vision of Maternity

(Please click on the photos to enlarge)

It would be hard to choose which sense is most stimulated by Mexico.  I’ve written a few times about the sounds of Mexico as well as her flavors, but for me it is the visions of Mexico that top my sensory list of thrills.  Time and time again, it has been color that has attracted the lens of my camera, but last week I exited Cafetto Saga and happened to look up at the monstrous “Egret tree” where egrets perch for the night and I was thrilled to have this opportunity to photograph  white––not only the snowy perfection of egrets, but to also find that I was in a perfect location to photograph this mother and her chicks.  The somewhat goofy appearance of the chicks offsets the elegance of the adults.  I especially love the one of the chick stretched out to caress its mother’s beak. In fifteen years, I have never lost my excitement in viewing these graceful, gorgeous birds.


Color Your World White!!!

Click on images to enlarge.


Believe it or not, I think all of the images (except for the one of Diego in his cone) were taken on the same day.  Odd that I looked through thousands of images and all my white ones ended up being taken on the same day. White stands out against the colors of Mexico!